The Medomak Valley and Belfast boys basketball teams gritted through the first three quarters of Tuesday night's, Feb. 9 high school court contest before the final eight minutes proved worth the wait.

The Lions, who never led, battled back in the fourth quarter and got a game-tying 3-pointer from Chris Kelley with just over three minutes to play, but the Panthers snuffed out the visitors' comeback bid, as the hosts ended the game on a 10-1 run en route to a 55-46 victory.

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The Panthers improved to 6-1, while the Lions dropped to 2-5. Medomak Valley also beat Belfast 63-53 earlier in the campaign.

On Tuesday, Medomak Valley led 14-7 after the first quarter, 23-13 at halftime and 35-29 after three quarters.

Trevor Brown, who briefly left the game with a fourth quarter injury and returned to help the Panthers collect the win, paced the hosts with 21 points, while Patrick McKenney added 15; Parker Morrison and Finn Parmley, five; Jake Bickmore, four; Aiden Starr, three; and Brandon Starr, two.

Jason Bartlett scored 18 points to lead the Lions, while Kelley added 17; Tanner Veilleux, seven; and Tommy Walker, four.

The Panthers netted 12-of-17 (71 percent) free throws and Lions 5-of-13 (38 percent).

Medomak Valley rattled off the first eight points of the game with five straight from Brown and a trey by Aiden Starr, but Belfast cut its deficit in half with Bartlett's baseline jumper and a hoop by Walker. McKenney scored as time wound down in the stanza to give the Panthers their largest lead at seven points.

Medomak Valley continued to keep Belfast at arms-length throughout the second quarter as each of Brown’s three field goals in the stanza kept the Panther lead at nine points, the latter of the three after securing a loose ball and scoring from close range to make the score 22-13.

McKenney's free throw later closed the first half.

The Lions got a significant boost from Veilleux early in the third quarter as he scored all seven of his points in short order — a baseline jumper, an offensive putback and a 3-pointer — to help Belfast pull within 27-20. Kelley later hit an impressive 12-foot jumper — while heavily guarded by two defenders — to bring the visitors within six to close the stanza.

A leaner in the paint by Bartlett to start the fourth quarter brought Belfast within 35-31, but Medomak Valley extended its advantage to eight points before Brown went down with an ankle injury with 4:41 to play.

Brown was forced to exit the game, but Parmley came in and coolly sank Brown’s free throws to put Medomak Valley up 43-35.

The Lions fed off the momentum of the Panthers’ leading scorer exiting the game and later got back-to-back 3-pointers from Bartlett and Kelley — the latter of which was set up by a clutch offensive rebound from Veilleux — to tie the game 45-45 with 3:09 to play.

However, Morrison quickly responded with a trey of his own to put the Panthers back up 45-42 before Brown checked back into the game at the 2:43-mark.

Brown’s presence loomed large over the waning minutes as the Panthers went on a 10-1 run to finish the game, as that decisive burst included an offensive putback off Brown's own missed free throw as time wound down.